I did a mini sprint workout last night and I can already tell I’m going to be really sore today from it. At least we’re halfway through the week!
Welllll, I was going to post my first WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) post today, but we’ll save that for next week! Instead, I thought it might be helpful to share a list of my absolute favorite nutritious foods that I always have stocked in my fridge or pantry, and they’re all pretty budget-friendly as a bonus!
1. Peanut butter
If I had to list ONE thing I couldn’t live without, it would be peanut butter. This sticky deliciousness tops the list. It’s a great topping to add to breads, oatmeals, crackers, fruit, vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc. It also add a healthy dose of protein and healthy fats. Look for the least amount of ingredients possible when buying. You don’t need a $7.00 all-organic kind, a $3.00 all-natural jar is just fine. I might have a little bit of a nut-butter problem..Lately, I’m into this Go Nuts brand, which is out of Rhode Island (!!)
2. Greek Yogurt
I add 2 scoops of plain Greek yogurt to my oatmeal every day for the extra protein and creaminess. I love the plain and customizing my own toppings (fruit, nut butters, seeds, cinnamon, cocoa powder) to save on the processed sugar! It’s also a great option for after-dinner snacks or healthier desserts.
You hear a lot about bananas and potassium, but these cheap guys also have tons of Vitamin B6 (nearly 20-25% of your daily value). They are best when slathered with peanut butter (in my opinion) – ideal pre-run snack. Great portable snack option and can be added to cereals, oatmeals, muffins, fruit salads, smoothies, etc. You can even blend it up to make banana “ice cream!” and add peanut butter, chocolate chips, cinnamon, fruit, etc.
4. Sweet Potatoes
I’m a lover of sweet potatoes, let me tell ya. They are cheap and full of Vitamin A (through its precursor, beta-carotene). These are a great side option for dinners, or make it the centerpiece of your dinner and stuff them with beans, veggies, meats, cheese, etc.
Similar to peanut butter, I love the creamy texture of hummus and how it flavors up my raw vegetables that I snack on throughout the day. Trader Joes has all kinds of awesome flavors (edamame, beet, cilantro jalapeno), but I prefer the plain jane original or garlic. Made with a base of chickpeas and tahini, hummus boasts protein, fiber and some healthy unsaturated fats with only 50-60 calories per two tablespoons. You can even thin it down and use it as a salad dressing!
My go-to for easy, CHEAP, fast breakfasts. Mix some with milk/yogurt, chia seeds, flavorings, etc. the night before and take it out of the refrigerator in the morning for some “overnight” oats that are nice and flavored – No cooking needed! Or, if you prefer it cooked or warm, you can also buy quick oats for a 1 minute breakfast on the go. Oatmeal is a whole grain, offering ample fiber, 5 grams of protein and some healthy fat. It’s the perfect breakfast base if you ask me! Life wouldn’t be as good without my oatmeal.
Another nutrient-dense powerhouse. While the price of eggs has gone up, the average cost per egg can still be as low as $.30, which boasts 6 grams of protein for just 70 calories. Make sure to eat the yolks though – that’s where all the nutrients are! (B-vitamins, antioxidants, choline)
These suckers have been linked to improving memory. I love my freshly picked blueberries, but for more bang for your buck, buy a big frozen bag and add them to smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, breads, muffins, salads, yogurt, etc. They’re super high in antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C.
9. Black beans
About as cheap as it comes for nutritious protein options, with nearly 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber (30% of our recommended amount). Beans are a great vegetarian protein option, and help speed up digestion and keep you full, thanks to the fiber. I love to add them to salads, stuffed peppers, stir-fries, or mix them with quinoa/ brown rice and veggies.
Spinach is my base for just about everything I make at home – whether it be secretly adding it to casseroles, salad bases, mixing with pasta, veggies, eggs, putting on sandwiches, adding to smoothies. Spinach is an amazing source of key nutrients, like Vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, folate, iron and calcium. It even packs a tiny bit of protein.
Those are my top-10! What foods are always in your pantry?